As a father, and now grandfather, I understand how important your children are to you. When they are healthy and happy, we feel very fortunate. As a dentist, I am aware of the impact good oral health has on our children’s overall well-being. But did you know that their healthy smile begins even before the first tooth erupts?
Baby Teeth Do Matter!
Years ago, baby teeth (primary teeth) were regarded as dispensable since they were eventually replaced with permanent teeth. Studies of pediatric dentistry have shown, however, that primary teeth are an important foundation upon which the future of your child’s oral health depends.
A few things baby teeth do:
- Help your child chew solid foods, which helps them digest foods properly
- Help your child to form sounds and speak more clearly
- Maintain distance for the permanent teeth to come
- Give them a beautiful smile
Your Role in Your Child’s Oral Health
As your baby’s first caretaker, you can add “first dental care provider” to your resume. The sugar in baby food and formula can contribute to tooth decay in primary teeth by providing “food” for the decay-causing bacteria. Fortunately, you can take steps to put your child on the path to a healthy mouth:
- Beginning several days after birth, gently rub your baby’s gums two times a day using a baby washcloth or a moist gauze pad. When the first baby teeth erupt (at around 6 months old) be sure to rub them gently as well.
- Do not allow your baby to sleep with a bottle of formula (or juice, etc.) bathing their teeth.
- Very gently floss your baby’s teeth once they have two teeth that touch.
- Bring your baby to us for their first exam six months after their first tooth arrives, and maintain recommended checkups thereafter.
We will answer all your questions and show you how to properly clean and floss your little one’s teeth. We also will provide you with some guidelines about the best foods and habits to help prevent early tooth decay. Because you have established an oral care routine with your child, they will have a positive experience at their first dental appointment and look forward to the next one, too.
At Friendly Family Dentistry we are all about prevention – we believe that simple precautions and habits can prevent or reduce tooth decay in our pediatric patients, too. Call our office today to schedule your child’s first dental examination. We look forward to seeing you!